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The Skip Heller Quartet: Homegoing

Jim Santella By

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Skip Heller's organ combo brightens the day with its saucy freshness and pert attitude. Eclectic in nature, the group interprets blues, pop soundtracks and mainstream jazz classics. It's timeless music with a timeless flavor. Heller emerged in Philadelphia in the mid-eighties, but his music, much of it original, comes from an earlier era. Shirley Scott, Groove Holmes, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, and Don Patterson showed the world how much fun small group jazz could be. Jazz has evolved, but the magic organ combo sound never left. Folks like Skip Heller help keep it alive. His guitar sets the mood, and his arrangements prove themselves edge-of-your-seat-curious exciting. A heartfelt tribute to guitarist Emily Remler, a swinging, tango take on a Mahler piece, and some down-and-dirty roadhouse blues make his album a keeper. The deep, baritone voice of Dave Alvin adds a homegrown flavor, while Lee Toft and Robert Drasnin provide a stellar partnership for the guitarist.

While Homegoing runs a mere 34:41, it's an enjoyable listen intended for a broad audience.

Visit Skip Heller on the web for audio samples and more.

Track Listing: From the Night Before; Maydele; Time After Time; Nika's Dowry; Emily Remler; Funeral March from Mahler, Symphony #5; The 'Intensive' Girl; I Just Keep Lovin' Her; Thinking Of You.

Personnel: Skip Heller: guitar; Robert Drasnin: clarinet, alto saxophone; Mike Bolger: organ; Howard Greene: drums; Lee Toft: trumpet (1,6); Dave Alvin: vocals (3,9).

Title: Homegoing | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Innova Recordings

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